Global coronavirus cases to hit 1 million as deaths reach 50k, WHO warns – The Sun

GLOBAL coronavirus cases will hit one million as deaths hit 50,000, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is warning. 

Currently, there are officially 981,428 people across the globe who have tested positive for coronavirus – and the death toll stands at 50,255.

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However with the rate of infection as high as it is, WHO says there is no doubt the figures will continue to surge in the coming days.

And the health body shared their concern at the "near exponential" growth in the number of confirmed cases across the world, with 183 countries affected.

Speaking at a press conference in Geneva on Wednesday, Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, pointed out that the number of deaths had doubled in the last week alone.

He said: "As we enter the fourth month since the start of the pandemic, I am deeply concerned about the rapid escalation and global spread of infection.

"Over the past five weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new Covid-19 cases, reaching almost every country, territory and area.

"The number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week.

"In the next few days we will reach one million confirmed Covid-19 cases and 50,000 deaths."

The number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week

On Friday, WHO announced a large global trial, called SOLIDARITY, to test four different drugs or combinations against the new coronavirus.

The drugs include remdesivir, which was originally developed to treat Ebola, and lopinavir-ritonavir, which is normally used to treat HIV.

Dr Ghebreyesus said 74 countries had now joined the groundbreaking global trial, or were in the process of joining the trial.

Countries involved include Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, France, Iran, Norway, South Africa, Spain and Switzerland.

More than 200 patients have been randomly assigned to undergo the trial in a bid to find a vaccine.

Dr Ghebreyesus said the WHO’s priority was for frontline health workers to be able to access personal protective equipment (PPE), including medical masks and respirators.

His comments come as the NHS is under increasing pressure due to a lack of personal protection equipment (PPE) to treat coronavirus patients.

Earlier this week, an NHS boss told how he is “losing the will to live” after struggling to source protective equipment for staff, pleading: “God help us all.”

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Alan Hoskins, chief officer of the Health Care Supply Association, spoke of his fears as more medics warned of life-threatening shortages.

New clinical guidelines tell staff to wear a face mask, apron and gloves when coming within 1metre (3ft) of a potentially infected patient.

The stark advice applies to those offering general care but also those taking X-rays or blood samples, doing home visits and physios.

Even cleaners have been ordered to put on a mask when cleaning areas where diseased patients may have been.

The near-blanket use has seen the health service churn through personal protective equipment (PPE) at record rates.

'Losing the will to live'

Mr Hoskins, whose organisation represents NHS procurement staff, wrote on Twitter: “What a day, no gowns NHS Supply Chain.

"Rang every number escalated to NHS England, just got message back — no stock, can’t help, can send you a PPE pack. Losing the will to live, god help us all.”

Gowns are proving particularly hard to come by because they were not included in the national pandemic stockpile of PPE.

They are instead coming from supplies built up for use in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Health Service Journal reports.

Health minister Helen Whately said last week 170million items of PPE have been delivered to frontline workers.

But Doctors Association UK insists staff are still not receiving the kit or it is not being restocked quickly enough.

Some members have resorted to buying scrubs on Amazon or have asked friends to knit them protective gear.

Others have sourced their own from local suppliers, who claim their offers to supply the government were ignored.

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